These differ by jurisdiction, but generally the legal relationship is set up by a settlor, where assets are put into the trust for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries (or for a stated purpose, such as a charitable trust).

Trust accounts are very useful for money laundering, hiding beneficial owners, converting between assets, and processing illicit funds. They can also be formed in privacy havens making details about them impossible to locate.

Payments to beneficiaries can also be used as they don’t require any justification as to the source of the wealth.

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